OHA updates Oregon Coast health advisory for soft-shell clams to include GAPERS.
The Oregon Health Authority is updating an existing health advisory to include gaper clams (Tresus capax), which were found to contain high levels of naturally occurring arsenic.
The advisory was updated today by the OHA Public Health Division after gaper clams were tested during a second round of sampling. It now applies to soft-shell clams and Gaper clams collected anywhere along the Oregon Coast. OHA recommends removing the skin from the siphon, or “neck” of soft-shell and gaper clams before eating them. This is because the inorganic arsenic that is harmful to human health is concentrated in the siphon skin. Removal of the skin before eating reduces the inorganic arsenic to levels that are not harmful.
The advisory is most important for recreational harvesters who dig their own clams. Soft-shell and gaper clams are collected primarily from estuaries and intertidal regions of the Oregon Coast.
Limited commercial harvest and sale of gaper clams for human consumption occurs in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) regulates the safety of commercially harvested shellfish. ODA will ensure that commercial dealers instruct retailers and consumers to remove siphon skins from gaper clams before eating them.
Those planning to eat soft-shell or gaper clams with or without siphon skins should review OHA’s recommended meal limits, available at www.healthoregon.org/fishadv.